This week I spent some time performing an audit of my city's local banks and credit unions using local Google search and looking at their use of branch location pages and UTM codes, with some surprising results.
A location page is a unique business web page created for a specific site, or location. It should display the business's interior and exterior images, the correct address, phone and website information, hours, services offered, and staff information. Quite honestly, according to local SEO practices, location pages should be content-rich and designed to help in customer acquisition.
UTM stands for "Urchin Traffic Monitor" and is a small snippet of code added at the end of a URL to track the source, medium, and campaign name of a marketing effort enabling companies to understand the performance of campaigns and content. If you look closely at pretty much everything you click on the internet, you will find UTM codes tracking the request's source.
Using Google, and the search term: "Banks in Albuquerque. "I then clicked the website link on each of the first 150 Bank/credit union local Google My Business (GMB) results to understand:
1) if the bank/CU branch had a unique branch location page
2) if there was a UTM code attached to the web address to track the source of the click-through.
- Number of unique banks/CUs: 24
- Number of banks/CUs with individual branch location pages: 11
- Number of banks/CUs using UTM codes: 4
- Of the banks using UTM codes, 3 are national brands, i.e., BoA, Wells Fargo, and US Bank and ranked highest
- The banks/CUs that had individual branch location pages owned the first 60 Google results
The four main findings from my audit are:
1) banks/CUs which employ branch location pages outperformed the branch's that didn't in local Google search
2) banks with the most robust branch location page did better than banks whose branch location page just basic information, and
3) The vast number of financial institutions are not tracking local click-throughs from local Google search.
4) banks/CUs that had robust branch location pages and used UTM codes to track click-throughs ranked highest
After reviewing the results, it's evident that there is an ample opportunity for many financial institutions to improve their local search results. Since many potential customers only consider the first page of a local Google search, it would behoove all banks/CUs to maximize their digital footprint by providing robust branch location pages and work on their ranking. I was also very surprised that most banks are not tracking GMB click-throughs to their website by using UTM codes, which would seem to be a large hole in many new customer acquisition strategies.
To find out how your financial institution is competing locally, the Digital Reputation Group (DRG) offers a complimentary local digital marketing analysis of your financial institution's local branch pages, Google My Business implementation, social presence, and digital footprint. DRG will share all their findings. Every issue and concern found along with suggesting fixes, both in detail and summarized by priority level. To find out more contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.